Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life.
Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love.
I feel as though I start all book reviews like this, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this novel. I absolutely loved both Matt’s Reasons To Stay Alive and his previous fiction book, The Humans, but after reading the first few chapters of How To Stop Time, I felt a little bit like I was reading a historical fiction novel, which really isn’t my thing usually.
But I persevered and I loved it so much.
How to Stop Time in essence is a love story, but it’s also so much more than that. Despite being slightly put off at first by the history content, I ended up learning a lot, especially having my memory jogged about things I’d learnt years ago at school. But the part of the story I loved most was the protagonist, Tom. Flawed yet sweet, Tom had an air of someone who had both lived for hundreds of years and was learning how to do life, just like the rest of us.
The novel felt like an experience more than anything else and it’ll definitely be one that I re-read – which is one of the highest accolades from me because I rarely re-read books. I really, truly did not want this book to end and when it did, it left me with so many thoughts about life, love and the complexities of time.
I have so much more to say about this wonderful novel, but really I just want you to read it and love it as much I do.
How To Stop Time is a beautiful, thought-provoking read that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.